Bernard, Lord Freyberg

Biographical information

Full nameBernard Cyril•Freyberg
Used nameBernard, Lord•Freyberg
Born21 March 1889 in Richmond, England (GBR)
Died4 July 1963 in Windsor, England (GBR)
Title(s)1st Baron Freyburg
NOC New Zealand


Bernard Freyberg was born in London but moved to New Zealand with his parents as a young child. He attended Wellington College, graduating in 1904. Freyberg was a top swimmer nationally, winning the New Zealand title in the 100 yards in 1906 and 1910. But he was best known for his military heroics. In World War I he served in the Dardanelles Campaign, and was temporarily promoted to brigadier-general. Wounded three times in The Great War, he earned a Victoria Cross, and two Distinguished Service Orders (DSO), making him among the most highly decorated New Zealand soldiers of that war. He continued to serve in the military during the interregnum. Freyberg also attempted to swim the English Channel several times from 1921-25, coming within 500 yards of shore on one attempt. In 1928 he was co-opted onto the IOC, but resigned less than two years later, and did not attend the one IOC Session held during his tenure.

During World War II, Freyberg was promoted to lieutenant-general, and served in the Northern Africa and Italian Campaigns while commanding the New Zealand 2nd Division with the British Eighth Army. In 1942 he was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire. He was again wounded three times and earned a third bar to his DSO. In 1946 he was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George, and a Knight of the Order of Saint John. In 1951, Freyberg was raised to the peerage as 1st Baron Freyberg of Wellington in New Zealand.

From 1946-52, Baron Freyberg served as the 7th Governor-General of New Zealand. He returned to England after his term ended, where he sat in the House of Lords, and in 1953 he was made Deputy Constable and Lieutenant-Governor of Windsor Castle.

Organization roles

Role Organization Tenure NOC As
Member International Olympic Committee 1928—1930 NZL Bernard, Lord Freyberg

Special Notes